Thursday was an eventful day in the Association. Fans were treated to slight snippets of the upcoming NBA season. Opening week and Christmas Day games were announced, headlined by the Golden State Warriors receiving their championship rings before they face-off against the new-look Houston Rockets.
The Houston Rockets have already made a big move this offseason. Acquiring Chris Paul
from the Los Angeles Clippers in late June for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, as well as a protected first round pick. That is a lot to give up for just one guy. Despite the amount of players Houston traded away, only Beverley and Williams saw big minutes during the regular season and playoffs. The front office and fans of Houston will surely forget the haul they gave the Clippers when CP3 dons the Houston jersey come October.
Houston may not be done yet…
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Houston Rockets still want to add another piece. That piece? Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks and Rockets had previously engaged in a trade for the Syracuse product in July. Talks stalled once the Knicks had appointed Scott Perry as their new General Manager. Talks were expected to heat up eventually, and here we are.
Carmelo, 33 years of age, has seen some decline in recent years. His scoring, while still prolific, has decreased in all but one season since his NBA Scoring title in 2012-13, when Melo scored 28.7 points per game. That season was also the last season Melo and the Knicks felt any glimmer of success. They won 54 games that year, but were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Indiana Pacers. That season also marks the last time the Knicks have made it to the postseason.
Carmelo Anthony has been a New York Knick since 2011. Ruling out his first 27 games as a Knick after he was traded to the Big Apple midway through the 2010-2011 season, Melo has only brought the Knicks to the playoffs twice in six seasons. For a player of Anthony’s caliber that is unacceptable. Those two postseasons only saw the Knicks tally 7 wins with an overall record of 7-10. That abysmal record does not even include when the Knicks were swept by the Boston Celtics in Anthony’s inaugural postseason in New York, Although the Knicks did advance to the semifinals in 2012-2013, marking their first postseason series win since the 1999-2000 season when the Knicks improbably made the NBA Finals as an eight seed, Carmelo’s tenure in New York City has been a disappointment.
Anthony, frustrated with how his career as a Knick has panned out, wants to be traded. Since Phil Jackson, former Knicks President, gave the star forward a no-trade clause in his contract, Anthony can dictate any trade the Knicks would potentially make. This clause does nothing but hurt the Knicks. Kyrie Irving, star point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has also demanded a trade. Surprisingly, Irving wants to play in New York. Go figure. Anthony, who once put the Cavaliers on the short list of teams he would want to play for, has other ideas. Carmelo has remained adamant that he only be traded to Houston to team up with long-time friend, Chris Paul. Prior to CP3’s trade to Houston, the LA Clippers, Paul’s previous team, were also on Anthony’s wish list. Melo has been rumored to lust over joining forces with either LeBron James or Chris Paul for years, but it looks like he has decided on the latter.
Since trade talks have ramped up as of yesterday, Carmelo’s departure from New York may finally be upon us. The marriage between Anthony and the Knicks was not a great one. It was filled with ups and downs in many aspects. His tenure in New York was as dysfunctional as it gets. Melo has played under 4 different head coaches since his arrival in 2011. The coaching staff was not the only thing in flux. He has also played under 4 different General Managers. Donnie Walsh, the GM during the 2011 season, was forced by owner, James Dolan, into trading for Anthony. Walsh was willing to wait until the offseason to sign Anthony, but Dolan feared he would be lured to the Nets with their move to Brooklyn on the horizon. Walsh, was a great GM for the Knicks. He got the Knicks out of a trainwreck of bad contracts and was able to sign Amar’e Stoudemire and just missed out on LeBron James. Walsh resigned following the 2010-2011. He later returned to the Indiana Pacers, where he had been for almost 20 years prior to coming to New York, as their GM and brought them to the Conference Finals in 2013.
All-in-all, the Knicks have limited options. The Rockets do not have many assets to trade. They gave those all away for CP3. Money is also an issue as any trade would have to include Ryan Anderson due to his large contract. Draft picks from Houston would also be useless as they are projected to be one of the top 3 teams in the Western Conference.
The Knicks have tried to convince Carmelo Anthony to expand his list of teams but he remains set on Houston.
Without the no-trade clause, it is very likely that Melo may have been dealt by now. The Knicks and Rockets are in no rush to make a trade. It is still possible that Anthony attends training camp as a Knick. He may even play for the Knicks during the regular season and be dealt later on.
One thing is for sure though, Carmelo Anthony’s time as a Knick is almost over.
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